UK: migrant women blocked from domestic abuse services and refuge beds

Migrant women are blocked from accessing refuge beds, domestic abuse services and safety

New petition urges next government to provide equal protection to all women

People around the UK will send messages of support to migrant women survivors of domestic abuse

The next government must introduce an inclusive version of the Domestic Abuse Bill and commit to the protection of all survivors of domestic abuse, including migrant women, the Step Up Migrant Women coalition has said, as it launched new actions to support migrant survivors of domestic abuse.

Step Up Migrant Women (SUMW) - a coalition of more than 40 organisations - has launched a petition calling on the next government to ensure migrant survivors have access to the specialist services they need in a safe environment free from discrimination. The coalition, led by the Latin American Women’s Rights Service (LAWRS), is also encouraging the UK public to send letters of solidarity and support to migrant women who have experienced abuse.

Migrant women in the UK who experience domestic abuse find it virtually impossible to get the help and protection they need. They are often blocked from accessing public funds and turned away from refuges. Many are too scared to report violence to the police or other services for fear of being detained or deported.

The new actions come ahead of the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-Based Violence (25 November - 10 December), an annual international campaign that calls for the prevention and elimination of violence against women and girls.

Elizabeth Jiménez Yáñez, coordinator of Step Up Migrant Women, said:

“Migrant women deserve to have safe reporting mechanisms and to be protected. We call for a Domestic Abuse Bill that protects all women regardless of their immigration status.”

Three ways people can take action during #16Days

  1. Sign our online petition to the UK Government to ensure equal protection to all survivors of domestic abuse is provided.
  2. Send a letter of solidarity to migrant women who have experienced abuse. See details below.
  3. Support women’s organisations by following and supporting the #StepUpMigrantWomen campaign and hashtag.

Letter of Solidarity details

Send letters to: Migrant Women, c/o Amnesty International UK, The Human Rights Action Centre, 17-25 New Inn Yard, London, EC2A 3EA

Suggested message: We support equal rights and equal protection for women, wherever they come from. Accepted languages: English, Portuguese or Spanish.

We will deliver all the letters to our partner refuge centres. 

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